Tuesday, March 13, 2012


I learnt recently that I'm an extrovert.

"What you didn't know that already Ashley?"

Well it now makes sense guys, but I used to be kinda quiet and used to enjoy escaping to my alone time in the library with a good book during lunch…

…however these days, I really feel I do draw energy from those around me and although I am naturally quite chatty, if I find a friend who's also the talkative type…well, the conversation never ends.

I'm sure we all have those couple of friends, who we call (or email) to catch up with once in a blue moon. And although the two of you may not have had any contact in the months between your last conversation, over a glass of wine or two, the conversation drags on until the closing hours.

It especially helps in my case if the other person has an interest in food too.

B (no, not Brad) had expressed interest in checking out Boire in the past, so when he left me with being the one to present a couple of options, he was quite pleased when I remembered Boire.

Boire in French (apparently) means 'to drink' in French. Yeah, yeah, I know there are probably all sorts of weird grammar things and conjugations to add to it, but I'll just pretend they don't exist right now.

Located in the same neighbourhood as Easy Tiger, Wabi Sabi Salon and Huxtable, in Collingwood, Boire has a slightly different feel to it. No reservations, not a telephone number in sight, menu written on the blackboard and an emphasis on beautiful wines.

I arrived early, as I usually do and quickly got the table right next to the window. Perfect for people watching! (And photography light, naturally)

The simple layout of nearly bare walls, circular tables and rolls of paper towel adhered to the walls, kept things unfussy and easy. I loved through the night just being able to rip off as much paper towel I needed to clean up whatever mess I made…

My habit nowadays is generally to go into a restaurant, say I like a dry white and enjoy whatever they give me to drink. That and I found the writing for the wines on the blackboard a little hard to read, so I unfortunately don't remember what it was that I had. It started with an M. And sounded very long.

At Boire however, you will definitely be looked after well in regards to wine, the staff are great at giving recommendations and B and I enjoyed our drinks all night.

It had been a while since B and I had talked last, which meant it took even longer than usual to divert our eyes over to the menu and decide what we wanted. But after discussing his last New York trip, where he got to have an awesome 'hands only' degustation, and a more recent trip to Europe, where more food envy was had, we finally made our choices.

We started with some quail eggs to nibble on. Soft boiled, these were the biggest pain in the butt to peel, but quite rewarding once done. I will admit at times I was tempted to just pop the whole thing into my mouth and try it out, shell and all…

A beautiful, warm salad of tomatoes and eggplant, with a parmesan crisp came out next. Two of my favourite vegetables. What is not to like? The parmesan crisp was a nice addition as well, adding a different texture.

Sitting on a bed of cucumber ribbons masquerading as tatami mats was a delightful mix of cured kingfish and avocado puree. I thought these were so pretty. A crispness from the cucumber like a spring breeze, the freshness of the kingfish like a leaf budding and a rich lush texture from the avocado, like a rose in full bloom. This dish made me think of spring. If you couldn't tell. I really enjoyed this.

For our mains, I can't remember everything on the dishes, but we had a lovely lamb dish, the lamb was wrapped, with crumbed lamb brain nuggets. Absolutely delicious, just so hearty and vibrant in flavour.

Our second main was a duck dish, have you ever seen a duck blush that beautifully? It was such a refreshing change not to have a duck dish that was confit, or over cooked and as much as I love a Chinese style roast duck…this was just…luscious. The meat was so juicy and tender.

B noted how 'French' the dishes felt, how homely, how filling they were. Which they were, the plating is not fanciful or delicate, or particularly trendy in the least, but they were plated in a way that when put in front of you, your saliva glands get switched on. The mix of vegetables is so different as well, rather than just being a sprinkling on the side…there's veggies. Lots of them. My body thanks Boire for that. Beautiful hearty fare.

A couple of hours later and a cup of tea, we (or maybe I) needed dessert. So hello creme caramel…!

It was a deceptively generous serve, it really took the both of us to finish it! Dense and sweet, but not sugary, with a beautiful burnt caramel aroma. I was quite seduced. And very full by the end of the night.

B and I parted that night, wholly satisfied with our meal and with promises of letting me borrow a book next time. I personally love Boire's approach to food, whilst I do love dressy and pretty, there's something about homely, yet elegant food that's so endearing.

Plenty of patrons flittered in and out over the course of the night, popping by just for a quick drink or two as well.

So whatever your agenda might be next time you're on Smith Street, maybe pop by and see what's scrawled on the blackboard for the evening…


92 Smith St
Collingwood, VIC 3066

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